“My favourite lamb dishes are probably roast lamb and lamb curry,” says chef Shane Delia. “So I started thinking about how to get them both onto my plate at once.”

Delia has built a career out of this line of thinking. The chef behind Melbourne fixtures Biggie Smalls and Maha, and the host of SBS’s Spice Journey, came up with what he calls, “the world’s simplest curry”. “My Mum makes a pretty wicked lamb roast, but she hasn’t come up with one quite like this,” he says.

The curry can be prepared in less than an hour and cooks in four. Just come back to it half an hour or so before you want to serve it and take the lid off so it gets a little brown and crispy. While that’s happening, prepare the side dish of green pea basmati rice.

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Delia says choosing an “easy” cut of meat to work with helps. He prefers lamb forequarter (also called shoulder) – a forgiving cut that doesn’t have to be closely watched while cooking.

The sauce is also straightforward. Forget about stirring – once you have the lamb out of the oven, simply remove the shank from the dish and put it aside, then pour the remaining juices and vegetables from the roasting dish into a food processor, along with the other sauce ingredients and blend it into a sauce.

To finish, grate macadamia nuts over the lamb until it looks like it’s “been sprinkled with snow”, flood the bottom of the serving dish with the sauce then place the lamb on top and garnish with a few sprigs of dried curry leaves.

This recipe requires up to 5 hours marinating time, 30 minutes to prepare and 4 hours and 30 minutes to cook.

Lamb Shoulder, Ginger and Carrot Curry With Green Pea Basmati Rice

Serves 4–6


10g cumin seeds
10g sea salt
3 cloves garlic
30ml olive oil
1.2kg trimmed lamb shoulder
½ cup macadamia nuts, for garnish
Dried curry leaves, for garnish

400ml can coconut milk
5 tomatoes, halved
1 large carrot, halved
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 onions, halved and cored
60g palm sugar

¼ bunch flat leaf coriander, roots removed
40g fresh ginger, peeled
3 red bullet chilli, stalks removed
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 lemon, juiced
Sea salt to taste

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garam masala
500g basmati rice
3 cups water
2 cups frozen green peas (defrosted)


For the lamb:
Using a blender or mortar and pestle, grind the cumin, sea salt, garlic and olive oil to a coarse paste. Make 3–5, 2cm deep incisions in the lamb and rub the paste over the lamb and in the cuts. For the best flavour, leave to marinate in the fridge for up to 5 hours.

Place all the curry ingredients in a deep roasting dish. Place the marinated lamb on top. Cover with foil or a lid and roast at 160°C for 4 hours. Remove lid or foil, turn heat up to 180°C and roast for a further 15–30 minutes or until golden brown.

For the rice:
Meanwhile, warm the oil in a pan. Add the garam marsala and cook gently. Add the rice and toast for a few minutes until it has absorbed all the oil and spices. Add the water and put on the lid. Bring to the boil with the lid on. Keep the lid on and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until all the water has been absorbed, about 10–15 minutes. Add the peas. Turn the heat off. Place the lid back on and stand for 10 minutes.

To finish:
Remove the lamb from the roasting tray and set aside. Place all the vegetables, liquid and the sauce ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth, then pour into a serving dish. Place the lamb in the serving dish and use a Microplane or other fine grater to cover the lamb in a snow-like layer of macadamia. Garnish with a few sprigs of fried curry leaves and serve with green pea basmati rice.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Australian Lamb.